This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We enter the first full week of the 2023 regular season with a day full of baseball. There are a few games sprinkled earlier in the day, leaving 11 matchups for the main slate. That volume will likely be rare for Mondays moving forward, so it's a good time to take advantage of a deeper than usual player pool. At the same time, there are drawbacks to the earlier parts of the schedule as every team's rotation is on nearly the exact same schedule. Monday, we get a lot SP4s on the mound, meaning the chalk build will likely be to pay down at pitcher while spending plenty on stacking elite offenses.
The top of the pitcher pool is uninspiring Monday and it's further worsened with tough matchups. As a result, it's a viable strategy to avoid paying up at all and instead focus on the middle tier. There, three names stand out in regard with Reid Detmers ($8,200), Drew Rasmussen ($8,100) and George Kirby ($8,000). Kirby and Detmers square off against each other, so it likely makes sense to roster only one. Kirby's 24.5 percent strikeout rate in 2022 was superior to Detmers' mark of 22.6 percent, but the Angels starter showed significant improvement over the second half of the season making them comparable from a skills, price and matchup perspective. Despite possessing a lower strikeout rate than the duo, Rasmussen stands out thanks to a more appealing matchup against the Nationals.
A bit further down the field, Hunter Brown ($7,400) is an interesting option due to a matchup against Detroit. A top prospect within the Astros' system, Brown impressed in a small sample in his big-league debut in 2022 and should be fully stretched out for his start Monday.
The punt option of the day is Michael Grove ($5,600). He failed to make the Dodgers' roster out of spring training, but after Ryan Pepiot (oblique) was placed on the injured list, Grove will have the chance to contribute. He made his debut in 2022 and wasn't all that impressive across 29.1 innings, but he should get a lot of run support and squares off against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium.
Oneil Cruz ($5,300) has among the most raw power in the league and is in a good position to show it off Monday. He draws a matchup against Kutter Crawford of the Red Sox, who surrendered 2.6 HR/9 and a .407 wOBA against the left-handed hitters in 2022.
Freddie Freeman ($5,700) and the Dodgers head into a exploitable matchup against Ryan Feltner of the Rockies. Regardless of split, Feltner was crushed throughout the 2022 season and there's no reason to expect that to change. Any hitter for the Dodgers is a good choice as a result, and as one of the best hitters in the league, Freeman is always a good selection.
Dominic Smith ($2,200) is hitting third in the Nationals' lineup against righties early on this season. Even in a tough matchup against Rasmussen, he's a clear value at his price in a park that aids power from the left side of the plate.
Alec Bohm ($3,600) is a name to keep in mind anytime the Phillies face a lefty. First, he shifts up the order and hit fifth on Sunday night against Martin Perez. In addition, Bohm hits lefties quite well, as he posted a .398 wOBA and .189 ISO against them last season.
The Diamondbacks take on lefty Ryan Weathers on Monday, and Kyle Lewis ($2,300) has led off for the team the first two times they have faced a southpaw this season. It's obvious to say we're dealing in small samples after three to four games this season, but Lewis has been all or nothing early on with two extra-base hits and six strikeouts through nine at-bats. The risk of zero points is mitigated by his price.
Stacks to Consider
The Astros should be considered a stacking option every day due to the number of potent hitters in their lineup, but in a good matchup, they're particularly easy to point out. Boyd threw only 13.1 innings last season, but historically he has mediocre control and a home run problem. The downside is that this stack is fairly easy to identify, so it will be chalky as well as expensive. Perhaps one way to be a bit different than the field is to stack the lefty hitters in the lineup, as the public may be less likely to roster them with a southpaw on the mound.
The Diamondbacks would be one option to offset the cost of an Astros stack, as they have a multitude of cheap options to consider against the lefty Weathers. Evan Longoria ($3,500) is another name to consider. As for the matchup, Weathers has been pushed into the rotation due to the slow ramp-up for Yu Darvish and the injury to Joe Musgrove (toe). He's relied heavily on pitching to contact early in his career and has allowed 1.8 HR/9 through 98.1 innings.
Also Consider: Dodgers vs. Ryan Feltner